I just finished “Tithe”, mixed media on canvas, 36″w x 36″h x 1 1/2″d and I posted it “for sale”. I was asked about the title. It’s kind of funny how an artist can derive at a meaning behind a piece of work. It goes something like this…
There is nothing more strange than to find yourself making a drive to the car shop, which is across from your old place of employment. On this drive that I took for so many years, to many to count, an old high school song came on the radio. With the windows down, well only the driver side because it’s the only one that still works ;), the wind brushing across my face, I wondered where all the time went? I flashed back and in this moment, though realizing how far I have come, I recognized that I am all those “Anne’s”, flashing like nano seconds in my mind. I am still the girl who loved high school; yet couldn’t wait to get out and start the next chapter of my life. I am still the rebel who upon occasion likes to buck the system. I am still the girl who dreams of the proverbial white picket fence. I am still the girl if you tell me not to do something, I’ll do it anyway, just because I have to find out for myself. This has often resulted in excruciating heartache! I am still the girl who survived the betrayal of friendships and past lovers. I am still the girl who wants to do it all by herself. I am still the girl who likes to skip and dance. I am still the girl who is silly and happy and yet will cry at the drop of the hat. I am still the girl that wants to be the best. I am still the girl who will risk “love” at all cost to my sanity, well, taking a break from that last one. I am still the girl that feels every emotion so profoundly. I am still the girl who tries to see the humor in all situations, like how I am sitting in the car repair shop across the road from where I spent over half my life and knowing I don’t belong there. And as I look at the empty parking lot that should be filled on a Friday with cars, it’s as if I never was there- empty!
After finding myself living in the cubicle for over twenty years, I walked away for my spirit. I simply without a safety net, finally flew the coop. I left behind all the things that made the person I liked seeing in the mirror disappear.
I haven’t a clue what tomorrow brings, none of us do. I learned from a past relationship, we, I, often live in the false perception of security. And because I did, I stayed in bad relationships, I stayed at a job that didn’t truly value me and I accepted it. I accepted it until I just woke up. Little by little, I started finding strength to say “no!” “No” to the men who tried to change me, who didn’t value me, who didn’t treasure me. “No” to the friends who like drama, who spend more time tearing down other’s than building their own lives, who spend more time pointing fingers then willing to accept their own decisions. I started saying, “no.” It’s a simple word and yet one where I am not alone in battling with giving oneself the permission to utilize it more.
And you may be asking, “but what about the title? Why ‘Tithe’?” It’s simple really. As I paint, draw, or do anything that is what I was made to be, to do- I think of everything and I think of nothing. I paint my journey, my experiences, my sadness and happiness, my break ups and my new loves. I paint about my friends and their lives. I paint about being a mother and the longing for a better life for my children. I paint the feeling of a woman finding herself, a woman who will prevail against all the obstacles in her path. I paint!
I finished up and I just found myself staring at it. As I was reflecting upon this piece and trying to find the title of it… many thoughts and titles were swirling about; but nothing was sticking. Something that usually just speaks to me, wasn’t coming. Sometimes you need another person’s perspective, so I sent a picture of it to another artist and I typed, “Title?” When I got his response back, I did a double take. I laughed at first; but admittedly I was stumped at his comment. I read it a couple of times and it still didn’t make sense to me. He wrote, “I say go with it. First instinct is usually your best.” What the hell does that mean? I sent it to you for your help, I thought. Then it occurred to me to look at what I had sent again. You see I didn’t type “Title” but “Tithe?” And I busted out laughing at the irony of it all. Here is why. I have been refusing to wear glasses. It makes me angry when I struggle to read my phone, and God forbid when I paint with yellow and that juxtaposition of brightness against the stark white canvas sends my eyes all crazy in and out of focus. I have given up and accepted I can no longer read the fine print on my medicine bottles and have resorted to becoming my mother (again), and out against of total exasperation, just hand it to my youngest and retort, “Please read this for me!” So I sat back and I thought about how I am fighting against using my glasses that would help me “see” and then I realized how damn stubborn I am, even against myself. I spent the last twenty years refusing to “see” what needed to be done and well, twenty years later, I put the glasses on, metaphorically speaking of course. As I sipped my espresso, glancing at the painting, pondering the meaning of the word- “tithe”:
“Sometimes, tithes. the tenth part of agricultural produce or personal income set apart as an offering to God or for works of mercy, or the same amount regarded as an obligation or tax for the support of the church, priesthood, or the like.”
And I realized that we are of God. He is in us. We are intertwined and my body, my vessel which houses my spirit, my soul, is his church. And out of all the times I give to other’s, to help them, it’s more than ok to do for me. I have an obligation to take care of my spirit. I owe it to my children, to myself to “shine”. For with each brush stroke, each painting I take across the finish line, I am “tithing” for my spirit. And as a daughter, I can finally tell my daddy “I get it! I get my worth. I see ‘me’ the way you always have.” And I cry! I just “wanted an angel to wipe my tears, to make it all better” and I grasped in that moment and all of the hours put into this painting the significance of this. Sometimes you have to be the one that wipes your own. And as a mother of two incredibly perfect girls’, I hope they understand the need to “Tithe” for their own spirits. It all suddenly made perfect sense to me to title it such.
I know I am not alone in these glorious epiphanies we have as humans in such a complex universe and I read many across this blog platform. What I can offer in the form of advice, though admittedly, I am far from anyone who should give it… It’s okay to take care of you!
~ ❤ and light always ~